HomeHealthcareFrom Salt Intake to Hydration: Lifestyle Factors That Affect Kidney Function

From Salt Intake to Hydration: Lifestyle Factors That Affect Kidney Function


Kidney health is vital for the overall well-being of the body, yet it often receives less attention than other aspects of health. The kidneys fulfil a vital function by filtering out waste substances and surplus fluids from the bloodstream, regulating blood pressure, and preserving electrolytes function. When kidney function is compromised, it can lead to serious health problems. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of kidney health, factors affecting kidney function, the impact of salt intake and hydration on kidney health, kidney function test results, lifestyle changes to improve kidney health, and conclude with key takeaways for maintaining optimal kidney function.

Importance of Kidney Health

Kidney function, Chronic kidney disease ckd, Doctor with human model to study and treat in hospital.
Kidney disease, Chronic kidney disease ckd, Doctor with human model to study and treat in hospital.

The kidneys are essential organs responsible for filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood to produce urine. They also help balance electrolyte levels, control blood pressure, and stimulate the production of red blood cells. Healthy kidneys are crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing various health problems, including kidney disease, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

Factors That Affect Kidney Function

Several factors can affect kidney function, including:

Diet: Consuming a diet high in salt, processed foods, and sugar can strain the kidneys and increase the risk of kidney disease.

Hydration: Dehydration can impair kidney function by reducing blood flow to the kidneys and slowing down the filtration process.

Smoking: Smoking can lead to kidney damage by damaging the blood vessels and reducing the blood flow to the kidneys.

Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and cause dehydration, both of which can harm kidney function.

Lack of Physical Activity: Sedentary lifestyle habits can contribute to obesity and hypertension, which are risk factors for kidney disease.

Impact of Salt Intake on Kidney Health

High salt intake can increase blood pressure and strain the kidneys by causing them to retain water. This extra workload can lead to kidney damage over time and increase the risk of developing kidney disease. Reducing salt intake can help lower blood pressure and protect kidney health.

Hydration and Kidney Function

Body Hydration Concept. Closeup Of Black Millennial Female Enjoying Mineral Water
Body Hydration Concept. Closeup Of Black Millennial Female Enjoying Mineral Water

Staying hydrated is essential for kidney health as it helps maintain proper blood flow to the kidneys and supports the filtration process. Dehydration can lead to decreased kidney function and increase the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day is crucial for supporting kidney function and overall health.

Understanding Kidney Function Test Results

Kidney function tests are a group of laboratory tests that are commonly used to assess the health and functionality of the kidneys. These kidney function tests can be done at home and they provide valuable information about how well the kidneys are filtering waste products from the blood and maintaining electrolyte balance.

Kidney Function Test Parameters

There are two main types of kidney function tests: blood tests and urine tests:

Blood Tests

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Measures the level of nitrogen in the blood derived from the breakdown of protein. Elevated BUN levels may be a sign of poor kidney function.

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR): This parameter is calculated based on serum creatinine levels, age, gender, size, and race of a person. A low eGFR value suggests decreased kidney function.

Serum Creatinine: Measures the concentration of creatinine, a waste product from muscle metabolism, in the blood. Elevated creatinine levels can indicate kidney dysfunction.

Urine Tests

Urine albumin: Detects the presence of albumin, a protein, in the urine. Increased levels of microalbumin may signal early kidney damage.

Urinalysis: Evaluates various parameters of urine, including colour, clarity, pH, protein, glucose, and the presence of blood cells or casts.

Results and Follow-Up

Interpreting kidney function test results requires an understanding of the normal reference ranges for each parameter. Abnormal test results may indicate kidney dysfunction or underlying health conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension.


A GFR of 60 and above is considered to be in the normal range, while a GFR below 60 mL/min/1.73m² may indicate reduced kidney function. GFR below 15 mL/min/1.73m² suggests kidney failure and the individual may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (UACR)

The UACR test compares the level of albumin in urine against the level of creatinine in urine. A ratio exceeding 30 mg per gram may indicate kidney disease or renal damage. If kidney function test results are abnormal, further evaluation and follow-up with a healthcare provider are necessary.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Kidney Health

Making lifestyle changes can help improve kidney health and reduce the risk of kidney disease. Some tips for improving kidney health include:

  • Follow a balanced diet low in salt, processed foods, and added sugars.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to maintain hydration in your body.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking as well as exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Limit the use of alcohol and avoid binge drinking.
  • Exercise regularly to achieve healthy body weight and blood pressure.


Optimal kidney function promotes overall well-being and longevity. By understanding the importance of kidney health, identifying factors that affect kidney function, making dietary and lifestyle changes to support kidney health, and monitoring kidney function through regular testing, one can take proactive steps to protect their kidneys and prevent kidney disease. It’s never too late to start prioritising kidney health and make positive changes for a healthier future.

Sheena Dawar
Sheena Dawar
Sheena Dawar is an introvert who believes words are melodies that stir the soul and colors that paint the canvas of possibility. She embodies the spirit of a poet, breathing life into each syllable and crafting stories that dance in the hearts of those who dare to dream. Sheena has completed her MBA from The Vedica Scholars Programme for Women and degrees in English Literature and Comparative Literature from the University of Delhi. With more than 6 years of experience, she excels in creating engaging content across various platforms, specializing in SEO writing, copywriting and digital marketing. As a brand manager at 9.9 Group, Sheena orchestrates innovative strategies that resonate with audiences and elevate brand presence. Her journey includes stints as a content head and instructional designer, where she curated engaging educational courses for leading ed-tech platforms. Fuelled by a passion for creativity and entrepreneurship, Sheena spearheads her own website, where she curates compelling narratives and mentors a team of writers in crafting SEO-friendly content. Beyond her professional pursuits, she's a fervent advocate for veganism and is embarking on her vegan venture, driven by a commitment to animal welfare, sustainability and ethical living.


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